from Chautauqua Institution Writers & Poets Summer 2011
Fathom by Philip Brady
Fathom: Poems Philip Brady*
“In poems of spiritual hunger and erotic receptivity, Philip Brady achieves utterance through formal gestures, ‘revealing in every form and syllable / a double essence.’ The pleasures of FATHOM are literary and sensuous, even when the poems address the events of 9/11. Through rhythmic cadences, ‘a murmur rippling in lines,’ Brady brings the world into focus, ‘purr[s] “accord” / into the ear of the continuum.’ These are poems to savor as they lodge themselves within us”—Michael Waters. A professor at Youngstown State University and the NEOMFA program, Philip Brady directs the YSU Poetry Center and Etruscan Press. For kicks, he plays in the New-Celtic band, Brady’s Leap.
*Philip Brady is a professor of English at Youngstown State University, where he directs the Poetry Center and Etruscan Press. He is the author of three books of poetry, Weal (winner of Ashland Poetry Press’ Snyder Prize); Forged Correspondences (chosen for Ploughshares’ Editors’ Shelf by Maxine Kumin); and Fathom; and a memoir, To Prove My Blood: A Memoir of Emigrations & the Afterlife. He is the co-editor, with James F. Carens, of Critical Essays on James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. He plays in Brady’s Leap, a New-Celtic band, which has produced two CDs of original music. He’s also executive editor of Etruscan Press. To read the complete review, please visit www.voicesdelaluna.com.
Who Are the Etruscans? Small Presses Advance American Literature
The Etruscans, who lived in Etruria, were known as Tyrrhenians by the Greeks. They were at their height in Italy from the 8th to the 5th century B.C.E. However, there in the back alleys of the American literary maze, there is a group of poets and writers who have formed a non-profit cooperation to produce and promote books that nurture the dialogue among genres, achieve a distinctive voice, and reshape the literary and cultural history of which we are a part. They publish books of poems, novels, short stories, creative nonfiction, criticism, and anthologies. They are proud to stand tall against giant publishing houses, because they have lasted more than ten years and published remarkable work by distinguished authors, including John Updike and Erica Jong. One of the 80,000 small presses which advance American literature—including Pecan Grove Press and Wings Press in San Antonio, Texas—, Etruscan Press is thriving by publishing well-regarded works of literature. To read more about the press and its published books, please visit www.etruscanpress.org.
Common Life by Robert Cording
Common Life: Poems Robert Cording
Common Life looks at the various meanings of common, especially its senses of familiar and widely known; belonging or relating to the community at large; and its twin notions of simple and rudimentary and vulgar and profane. The book’s perspective is religious and is grounded in the epigraph from the Psalms: "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him." The "waiting" that is required has to do with three things: first, our desire, as Charles Wright puts it, "to believe in belief" rather than believe; second, the need for a setting aside of the self, an abandonment of "every attempt to make something of oneself, even ... a righteous person" in the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer; and third, the "waiting" must be as Eliot wrote in the Four Quartets, a waiting "without hope for hope would be hope of the wrong thing." If we learn to wait in these ways, the final section of the book suggests that we have the chance of opening ourselves to all that is graceful within life’s common bounds.
The Memoir Project by Marion Roach Smith
The Memoir Project Marion Roach Smith Adapted from NPR
Marion Roach Smith believes writers must publish their work when they believe their work carries a literary value. She often mentions proudly how she began her own successful writing career by self-publishing. Everyone has a story to tell, but writer and memoir writing instructor Marion Roach Smith says making those stories interesting and readable is harder than it looks. In her memoir writing guide, The Memoir Project, Roach Smith argues that too many aspiring memoirists focus on cramming every memory onto the page, instead of focusing on relating their story to broader themes. She tells NPR’s Neal Conan that a useful memoir writing exercise is to consider what’s worth including and what’s best left out for the story you’d like to tell. She says that’s what she did when she decided to write about her mother being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when Roach Smith was 22 years old. In the resulting memoir, Another Name For Madness, Roach Smith discusses her mother’s alcoholism, but leaves out the details of her infidelity.
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